null Temporary amendments to transport legislation – Parliament adopts the legislative package

Temporary amendments to transport legislation – Parliament adopts the legislative package

Press release 20.05.2020 08.21 fi sv en

Cars and a bus on the road (Photo: Shutterstock)

At its plenary session on 19 May 2020, Parliament adopted the contents of the government proposal concerning temporary amendments to legislation in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The amendments aim to facilitate business activities and people’s daily lives and ensure well-functioning transport operations under the emergency conditions resulting from the coronavirus epidemic. 

The Government submitted a proposal on amendments to several acts to Parliament on 30 April 2020.

Changes to public transport routes and timetables

Through an amendment to the Act on Transport Services, the notification period of providers of passenger transport services will be shortened from 60 days to five days. This will provide the public transport operators an opportunity to change their timetables more quickly and so adapt their business operations to the changing circumstances.

Taxi driver's licence

An amendment proposed to the Act on Transport Services allows the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency to renew a taxi driver’s licence so that the applicant would submit the required medical certificate within six months of the renewal of the licence. This applies to licences that expire between 16 March and 31 October 2020.

Professional qualifications in maritime transport

The validity of professional qualifications in maritime transport, such as certificates of competency, certificates of proficiency and pilotage certificates, will be extended by six months from the date of renewal from 16 March to 31 October 2020. During this time, exemptions may also be made to the test pilotage requirement. In addition, a derogation from the competence provided for in the Safe Manning document may be applied from the Transport and Communications Agency. A skills test relating to the competence may be completed by 30 April 2021.

Ship security verifications

The amendments will allow the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency to authorise a classification society approved by it to carry out ship security verifications and to issue International Ship Security Certificates. These verifications are carried out on Finnish vessels that are abroad. Such a temporary authorisation will ensure smooth goods and freight transport services and will remain in force until 31 December 2020.

An amendment to the Register of Ships Act will enable a copy of a ship’s document of title to be submitted instead of the original document. This change will remain in force until 31 October 2020.

Legislative proposals by the Commission

Originally, the government proposal included several amendments

On 29 April 2020, the European Commission issued four proposals for regulations in the transport sector with the aim of providing relief to the transport sector during the COVID-19 epidemic. The derogations in the Commission proposal for a regulation differed to some extent from those presented in the government proposal.

In order to avoid conflicts and interpretation problems, the Ministry of Transport and Communications submitted a complementary report to the Transport and Communications Committee that included a proposal to reject in full the legislative proposal on amending the Driving Licence Act and to remove three sections from the legislative proposal concerning the Act on Transport Services. 

The legislative proposal to amend the Driving Licence Act concerned the submission of medical certificates related to the renewal of a driving licence. The proposal was deleted because the Commission has proposed an extension of the validity of driving licences. The Commission proposal is more comprehensive than the one presented in the government proposal.

The three sections of the Act on Transport Services removed from the legislative proposal concerned extending the validity of professional qualifications of lorry, bus and coach drivers, medical certificates of drivers operating rail transport services, and validity and maintaining of complementary certificates. Provisions on the same matters are laid down in the Commission’s proposal.

The Transport and Communications Committee adopted the report on the government proposal on 8 May 2020.                                                                                                    

What are the next steps?

The President of the Republic will ratify the Acts.

The aim is that they will enter into force on 1 June 2020.

The amendments would remain in force for a fixed period of a few months, but no longer than until 30 April 2021.


Inquiries:

Silja Ruokola, Director of Legal Affairs, tel. +358 295 34 2367

Rita Linna, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2559

Public transport timetables and routes: Monika Mutanen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 34 2125

Taxi driver’s licence: Kreetta Simola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2609

Professional qualifications in maritime transport: Katja Peltola, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 34 2031

Ship security verifications: Suvi Kankare, Coordinator, tel. +358 295 34 2105